Lynnfield’s offense too much for North Reading to handle

Lynnfield's John Simonetti (left) battles with North Reading's Stephen Robishaw for the puck during Tuesday's game. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

SAUGUS — Offense was the name of the game for the Lynnfield boys hockey team Tuesday evening as the Pioneers netted three goals in the first period en route to a 7-2 win over North Reading at Kasabuski Arena.

“I was definitely happy with the way we played for the most part tonight,” said Lynnfield coach Jon Gardner. “We had talked in the past few days about getting off to a fast start and then holding that lead, which is something we haven’t done recently. It was nice to see us play a complete game tonight.”

Senior George DeRoche led the way for Lynnfield with three goals, while senior Jaret Simpson and junior Ronnie Fuccillo each had one goal and one assist. Juniors Robert Tashjian and Sam Pifko each had one goal, while senior Will Garofoli and junior John Simonetti each had three assists. Seniors Leo Quinn and Jeff Floramo each had one assist. Senior goalie Aidan Kelley had 11 saves.

Gardner was especially happy with the way the Pioneers shard the puck.

“Our strength is certainly our depth, and we were able to show that off tonight,” said Gardner. “We did a great job working together within our system and moving the puck all over the ice across all of our lines.”

Things got going in a positive way very early for Lynnfield. After drawing a penalty just over a minute into the game, the Pioneers converted quickly when Fuccillo cleaned up a loose puck in front of the net for a power play goal to make it 1-0. Not even a minute later, DeRoche did the same thing to take a 2-0 advantage. The score remained there for the next 10 minutes before North Reading finally got on the board. As Lynnfield was trying to clear the puck out of its own zone, Jake DiNapoli swooped in for the Hornets and stole the puck. He then sent a quick pass over to Francis Brachanow, who fired a shot into the net to make it 2-1.

But the Pioneers wouldn’t give up the momentum that easily. With six seconds remaining in the first period, Simpson scored a power play goal on an assist from Simonetti to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

Special teams was a big highlight for Lynnfield in the win, as the Pioneers netted two power play goals, a shorthanded goal and also shut out North Reading on four power play chances.

“The special teams were great out there tonight for us,” Gardner said. “We were able to ramp up the pressure when they were on the power play and get some opportunities, so that was nice to see.”

All of the action in the second period came in the final six minutes. It started with a North Reading goal from William McCann to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 5:35 to go in the period. But once again, Lynnfield wouldn’t let the momentum slip away. The Pioneers scored two goals in the final 1:15 of play, the first coming from Pifko and the other coming from DeRoche, and Lynnfield took a 5-2 lead into the final period.

North Reading had two power play opportunities over the course of the third period, but the Hornets couldn’t get anything going offensively. Lynnfield added two insurance goals, an empty-netter shorthanded goal from DeRoche and an even-strength goal from Tashjian, to skate away with the 7-2 win.

Lynnfield (6-3-2) will travel down to Henry Graf Skating Rink in Newburyport to face Triton on Saturday afternoon (2).

More Stories From Lynn